Spinal op for M’sian crew member

PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian cabin crew member of Singapore Airlines Flight SQ321 that was hit by severe turbulence is due for another surgery today.

“He underwent surgery on Tuesday. Further surgery is expected on Thursday (today),” Malaysian Ambassador to Thailand Datuk Jojie Samuel said.

He said the 32-year-old man is in critical but stable condition.

The crew member has head and back injuries and needs to undergo spinal surgery, Jojie said when contacted.

There were 18 crew members and 211 passengers on board the flight that was travelling from London to Singapore when it encountered sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin at an altitude of 37,000 feet about 10 hours after take-off.

The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, landing at 3.45pm local time on Tuesday.

A 73-year-old British man died in the incident.

Jojie said that nine of the 16 Malaysians who were on board the flight had been sent to hospitals in Thailand.

Six of them are being treated in Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital while three others are at Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital.

“According to the two hospitals, all of them suffered physical and internal injuries, with one person in critical but stable condition.

“They are under observation at the current time,” he added.

Jojie said the Malaysian Embassy has been coordinating with local authorities and hospitals, with consular officers visiting the Malaysians at the hospitals in Bangkok.

A Reuters report quoted one of the Malaysians on SQ321 – student Dzafran Azmir – as saying that it would take some time for him to recover from the shock.

“It will take some time to process, I’m still processing it,” said the 28-year-old in a video call with the international news agency upon arriving in Singapore via a relief flight.

“I saw people on the aisle going completely horizontal hitting the ceiling and landing back down and in really awkward positions... it was quite a sight.

“Honestly, I didn’t understand the full scale of what happened until we landed,” he added.

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